6 Tips for a Healthier, Happier, Saner Commute

If you commute to work or school, in a car no less, you already know (firsthand) why sitting in a car after sitting at a desk all day isn’t doing you any favors.

From tight hip flexors to back and neck strain to unintended weight gain, hoping behind the wheel to commute to and from your desk job definitely carries it’s share of negative health woes. Luckily, you can have a happier, healthier commute by following these simple tips…

1. Mind Your Posture

Mom used to nag you to, “sit up straight” for good reason. However, with no sight of dear mom during your long-sitting commute to and from the office, someone has to be on back preserving duty.

Thankfully, we get some expert tips on sitting from Amy Fiske, an NSCA-certified personal trainer, who recommends keeping the back straight by drawing you navel up and in while you lift through the crown of the head (just like in yoga class). You may lose momentum, but  you can relax and repeat as you drive. Also, with your hands on the steering wheel, pull back through the shoulders like you’re holding an egg between your shoulder blades, and hold for 10 seconds.


2. Practice Car Aromatherapy

It may sound silly to scent your vehicle, but considering you spend a few hours breathing the air (and those leftover fast food wrappers under your seat), a little smell therapy may improve your mood and even calm you during your hectic commute.

According to research from ScienceDaily.com, pleasant, natural scented oils, like lavender, can blast those nasty car smells while calming your need to put pedal to the metal and commit vehicular crimes against your fellow drivers.


3. Carpool

While you may talk to yourself during your commute, having a carpool buddy may occupy you with lively conversation and improve your mood on your drive.

Studies show that a bit of social interaction during your commuter can break up boredom, relieve stress, keep you more alert, reduce expenses, reduce pollution, and if you’re sharing the costs or taking turns, conserve resources too.


4. Walk When Possible

I do a pretty equal share of working from home, working in the office, and commuting to and from said office during my work week. Because some days require more sitting then others, I break up alternate days and my time at home by walking as much as possible.

For example, my days at the office involve a lunch hour walk. And any errands I do in the evenings, I tend to do close to home so I can walk. I also make sure to park my car far from the door at my office and take the stairs vs. the elevator to the third floor.

walk to office

5. Choose Your Rush Hour Jam Wisely

Although the artists vary on my morning and evening drives to and from the office, they tend to have a few things in common. Firstly, they’re positive in lyrics (I’m a writer so I pick up on these things) and they’re more mellow in tempo.

Surveys show that drivers who opt for up-tempo rock or heavy metal on their commutes experienced more road rage followed by greater incidence of vehicle collision. So download some relaxing tunes on your drive home mix for a calmer, happier commute.


6. Bring Healthy Snacks

Just like you fuel your car, you should fuel your body for the drive to and from the office. Starting off half asleep with no coffee or oatmeal can make you a hazard on the roads.

Keep your mood and energy high by touting along some healthy and convenient snack options (i.e., unsalted nuts, grapes, fruits slices, or a green smoothie) that don’t require too much hand/eye attention. You can also prevent road rage and plummeting blood sugar on the way home with a well timed snack.






Emily Lockhart

Emily Lockhart is a certified yoga instructor and personal trainer. She believes that being healthy is a lifestyle choice, not a punishment or temporary fix to attain a desired fitness or body image goal. Anna helps her clients take responsibility for their own health and wellness through her classes and articles on ActiveBeat.